David J Smith

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Articles

What Does #нтвлжет Really Mean?

нтвлжет – #ntvlies – is the latest online rallying point for the persistent opposition to Russian President-elect Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin. The immediate object of the protest is the NTV television documentary Anatomy of a Protest, a “pseudodocumentary,” writes the New York Times, with “all the familiar earmarks of a hatchet job against opponents of the Kremlin.” On a deeper level, #нтвлжет signifies that some segment of the Russian people is unwilling to leave behind Putin’s tragicomic...

American Defense Cuts Matter to Everyone

The United States Government is in debt over $15 trillion - about the annual value of America’s gross domestic product. Dramatic cuts in spending are necessary. But if the current 2013 defense spending plan wending its way through Congress is not considerably altered, it will launch America on a decade of cuts that will undermine the superpower’s power and credibility. The implications are global, not least for Georgia. As it happens every February, a couple of weeks ago, U.S. President Barack...

Iran: Talk of War

Iran may be lurching toward a showdown with the west, but for the moment, talk of war is premature. And any suggestion that Washington and Tbilisi are somehow plotting an attack is nothing short of delusional. Nonetheless, the situation is serious, and the moment during which talk of war is premature may be fleeting – 2012 is a crucial year. And Iran is no farther...

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin: Russia’s Once and Future President

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on September 24 surprised political observers with what many believed was an early announcement that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will be the regime’s candidate for president in the March 4, 2012 elections. “I think it would be correct,” Medvedev told United Russia Party activists, “for the congress to support the candidacy of...

These Guys Are in the Fight:

For a week last month, US Marines of the 2nd Combat Engineering Battalion and Georgian soldiers of the 33rd Infantry Battalion joined forces in Operation Black Sand in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Deployed to Combat Outpost (COP) Shukvani, they cleared the Ladar Bazaar of improvised explosive devices - bombs. Insurgents had taken over the bazaar, depriving local people of a real market in which to buy and sell everyday goods. Now, Americans and Georgians are building a new market for the...

Take Down Cyber Thugs

Three years ago this July, Russia fired the first shot in its war upon Georgia, the first ever combined kinetic and cyber war. The shot was not fired from the 125 millimeter gun of a T-72 tank, but from the keyboard of a computer. The impact was a lurid defacement of www.president.gov.ge, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s website. Various kinds of cyber attacks continued throughout and beyond the kinetic assault. Careful analysis by several independent experts revealed the key role...

Turkey: Electoral Victory and History

Turkish voters on June 12 handed Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party — AKP — a third successive parliamentary election victory.  Erdoğan and his government are now set to become the longest serving in Turkey’s history as a multi-party democracy. But record books are different from history books. Erdoğan now has a chance to make Turkish history — but it will take hard work, of which is palpably capable, and wisdom. And where he leads his country matters well...

It Is Time for an Embargo on the Reset Policy

When even a handful of demonstrators take to Tbilisi streets, residents of the Georgian capital ask whether this will be the occasion that Moscow seizes as a pretext for further Russian aggression against Georgia. And, they wonder, what lies between us and the Russian tanks that occupy the Georgian region of South Ossetia, just 40 kilometers away. The answer: a diligent and proud Georgian army, including Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, that has been barred from acquiring western military...

Moscow: Darkness at ‘X’ Hour

Swindlers and thieves Aleksey Navalniy calls Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his United Russia Party. Navalniy exposes corruption at the nexus of Russian wealth and power from his blogsite on LiveJournal.com. That earned him a visit from a gang of thugs - cyber thugs who, with techniques reminiscent of Russia’s 2008 cyber assault on Georgia, attacked LiveJournal. With Russian elections looming and Putin and the siloviki growing unpopular, expect more cyber hooliganism in Russia.-....

Forget Reset; Get a New Hard Drive

 American Vice President Joseph Biden whisked through Moscow and Chisinau last week, promoting the Obama Administration’s “reset” of US-Russian relations. Ushering Russia into the World Trade Organization, the VP said, is an American priority. He ticked through the accomplishments attributed to reset, leveled some unvarnished criticisms at his Russian hosts and exited through Moldova, an itinerary that rankled in Moscow.  But there was nothing really new - reset has devolved into an amalgam of...

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